AS a free kick for Dumbarton in a threatening position went well over the bar with two minutes to go, it rather summed up the afternoon.
Sons were not exactly outplayed by East Fife at New Bayview. They just did not have enough when it came to doing what wins football matches.
They should have led from one of several opportunities within the opening 10 minutes. Instead, they found themselves a goal down and two injured players down midway through the first half.
Despite plenty of possession after the restart, and tactical changes meaning more strikers on the field, there simply was not enough sign that an equaliser was coming.
And when Alex Ferguson sealed it for East Fife on the counter attack, that was that. For only the fourth time this season, Dumbarton were beaten in a league fixture.
The news that results elsewhere which had earlier been going Sons’ way were now not so positive for them merely added to the frustration of the day.
Within two minutes, Dumbarton were in on the home goal, a delightful through ball by Ryan Wallace giving Ally Love a similar chance to the one Wallace scored with against Annan Athletic the week before.
But Love’s shot dropped wide of the target. It was soon followed by an Aron Lynas shot which certainly had pace, but unluckily hit a team-mate.
Only a challenge in the area then stopped Finlay Gray from getting a shot in on goal, before things started going wrong. Gregg Wylde’s efforts to create from the loose ball only resulted in him taking a fall which forced him off injured.
Then on 23 minutes, Steele rose unchecked to head home a corner for the opening goal for the home side. As if to prove that bad luck comes in threes, Martin McNiff was injured in challenging for the corner and also had to make an early exit.
A Gregor Buchanan shot, which rolled just past, was as close as Sons got to an equaliser before the interval.
Eight minutes into the second half, Brett Long made a fine save to keep out Ferguson’s shot from the edge of the area.
It was then followed by a spell where Dumbarton had plenty of the ball, but it ended up just about anywhere except the back of the net.
Russell McLean looked certain to equalise on the hour mark when he met the ball at the back post, but the keeper saved at close range.
The fruitless efforts continued through to the final minute of the game, when East Fife cleared their lines, and Scott Shepherd crossed from the right to give Ferguson an easy finish.
East Fife: Fleming; Steele, Schiavone, Slattery, Trouten (McManus 68), Healy (Shepherd 79), Newton, Denham, Denholm (Walls 68), Ferguson, Quinn (Millar 21). Subs: Beveridge; Murdoch, Mansouri, Omar, Agnew. Booked: Newton, Healy.
Dumbarton: Long; Wylde (Ross MacLean 21), Buchanan, Carswell, Orsi (Byrne 59), Love (Russell McLean 59), Lynas, Gray, Blair, McNiff (Grant 26), Wallace. Subs: Broun; Lynch, McKee, Vata.
Referee: Peter Stuart.
Pictures below by Andy Scott